AOL Europe is aiming
to reach 10 million European households in 2002, company president
and CEO Andreas Schmidt told journalists at CeBIT.
In a wide-ranging
talk, he outlined a whole series of policy and business initiatives
that are intended to help Europe make some impact on the Internet
Among the measures announced by AOL Europe is an initiative to
connect all of Europe’s parliamentarians to its online services.
“This is a cross-border medium,” said Schmidt. “All politicians,
regardless of country or party, should have the same opportunity to
access, explore and use online services in the same way as their
Other Internet access providers may well query the implication
that politicians do not currently have an opportunity to get
online. Certainly, in the UK, the industry has bombarded MPs
with information about the Internet–and there can be few
excuses today for the unwired parliamentarian. However, the
majority of MPs still show a reluctance to come to terms with
new media–and it is this reluctance that AOL hopes to overcome.
New portal strategy
Schmidt went on to say that AOL Europe would pursue
a multiple-brand strategy in which AOL and CompuServe would
be supported by a unified infrastructure. A new portal strategy
is being devised to drive additional advertising and e-commerce
In a further move, AOL will extend its unlimited-access pricing
policy to key markets besides the UK. The company will seek a
regulatory environment that will help the industry–consumers
and providers alike–by opening up fair and free competition.
Mentioning some statistics, Schmidt said that AOL
Europe employs 2000 European staff to provide local content and
customer support services. The network carries 7 million e-mail
messages in Europe daily–plus 55 million instant messages.
“We will continue to push for policies and a
business environment that will allow Europe to realize its
potential as a competitive, modern ‘Net-centered’ economy,” said Schmidt.